A king had a holiday resort in the forest. He used to visit there sometimes to relax. A new caretaker had taken over recently. He had just got the message that the king would be visiting tomorrow. The caretaker was excited and anxious too. He wanted to please the king and earn his favour. He spent the day cleaning each nook and cranny of dust or dirt. He got up early next day and made the bed for the king. He set up a bowl of fresh fruits that he had handpicked from the king’s orchard. He kept a fire burning all day at the hearth, so that warm water would be available at a moment’s notice. He also prepared the most delicious delicacies that he knew how to cook. His face was radiant with emotions and love was flowing from his heart for his royal master. At sundown, the caretaker noticed a badly wounded fellow dragging himself forward on the dusty dirt track that led to the forest retreat. He went up to the man and saw that he was bleeding profusely and his clothes were torn. He seemed to be almost at the verge of passing out. He was weak and helpless. The caretaker saw his pitiable state. Somehow he managed to drag him to the forest retreat.
Without a second thought, the caretaker laid the wounded man on the couch and quickly brought the warm water that he had readied for the king. He washed the wounds and cleaned them. He applied a soothing balm over them. He removed the man’s tattered, blood stained clothes and dressed him in clothes from the king’s wardrobe.
He fed him the food that he had prepared for the king. He then carried the exhausted man to the bed, he had so painstakingly prepared for the king. He settled him in the bed and drew the sheets over his chest. Soon the wounded man fell into a deep slumber.
A short while later, there was a knock on the door and the caretaker’s heart missed a beat. He knew that he would have to face the wrath of the king, having taken the liberty to offer the king’s personal amenities to a commoner. As he opened the door he found a man there who said, “I am the king’s minister. The king should be here any minute. Have you prepared the rooms and food for the king’s party?”
The caretaker said, “Sir, I have prepared everything. But I’m afraid; the King shall have to sleep in one of the other rooms. You see a man who was terribly wounded, came here. I bathed and fed him. He is asleep in the king’s bed.” The minister was furious. He said angrily, “How dare you give the king’s bed to another? You insolent fool! You aren’t fit to be in the service of the king. Just wait till the King gets to know; you shall pay dearly for this.”
A feeble voice came from the king’s chamber, “The king already knows!”
The king later narrated that he and four other courtiers had got separated from the others. As they were nearing the retreat, they were attacked by a herd of lions. Two of the courtiers were killed. The other two ran away. The king managed to drag himself away from the scene and somehow managed to get here. The caretaker had looked after him without knowing who he was. The king said, “This man recognized that it was more important to save the life of a dying man, than to wait for the king. He is a very intelligent and good man. Of what use is wealth and comfort, if not for sharing and caring for those who are in need?”